Krispy Kreme Doughnuts replaced its chief executive officer on Monday, reaffirming the danger of a marketing strategy that depends on the average American’s desire for something being inversely proportional to his ability to get it.
The problem with the strategy, of course, is once you give us something we can’t have, eventually we begin to wonder what the big deal was in the first place.
Nobody was better at the strategy than Krispy Kreme, a North Carolina regional franchise that eventually spread to Minnesota. From Maple Grove to Waite Park to St. Paul, each choreographed store opening featured long lines of traffic, and live radio broadcasts from stations that figured if a doughnut store was opening, it must be news.
And it was, until some months later when Minnesotans realized that they had sat in a traffic jam to buy… a doughnut. Two years later, the company shuttered its New Brighton production facility. Store closings soon followed.
You want ugly? This is ugly.
The company’s stock, which was trading as high as $50 when there was still a Krispy Kreme mystique, is trading for a little over $3 at yesterday’s close.
Minnesota’s Krispy Kreme addicts learned the same lesson here that any beer drinker east of the Mississippi learned decades ago about Coor’s beer (Former Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski used to load up the team plane with Coor’s whenever the team played on the West Coast). It’s called “mystique madness.”
Sometimes, things taste better, when you can’t have it.